Minnesota dispatched the Toronto Blue Jays in their best-of-three Wild Card series, allowing just one run across two games while proving that htey have as much pitching depth — both in the rotation and the bullpen — as any team remaining in the postseason. The Twins will be looking for a measure of revenge: The last time they made the postseason, back in 2020, they were eliminated by none other than ... the Astros, who dispatched Minnesota in two games in that year’s Wild Card round.
Houston, meanwhile, earned themselves a bye in the first round by snatching the AL West from the Rangers on the final day of the regular season. Before sweeping their last three games, the Astros were taking on water a bit — they went just 13-14 over their final 27 games, with just about every member of their starting rotation (even Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez) throwing up a clunker or two. The big four of Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker can make up for a lot of ills, though, and the reigning champs have as much October pedigree as anyone.
Let’s go over odds to win the series on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Twins vs. Astros odds
Houston enters as heavy -170 favorites on the moneyline to win this series, with Minnesota the +140 underdogs.
Which makes sense on paper: The Astros are the defending World Series champions, with a star-studded lineup and proven postseason horses in Verlander and Valdez (plus Cristian Javier, throwing the ball as well as he has all second half). Houston was the better team over the course of the season, is the more talented team overall and deserves to be favored, especially with home-field advantage.
Given how much juice is on the Twins, though — and how little reward there is for picking Houston — I think there’s a good enough argument for Minnesota winning this series that they’re worth the risk. That argument, in one word: pitching. The Twins have as much of it as anyone, going five-deep in postseason-quality starters (Pablo Lopez, Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, Kenta Maeda) and a seemingly neverending cavalcade of hard-throwing relievers that just short-circuited the Blue Jays’ offense in the Wild Card round. Dealing with Houston is a whole different matter, but if the above names are on, that’s the great equalizer — and Minnesota had the league’s highest OPS over the month of September, finally turning the corner on offense after months of inconsistent play.
Will the Astros’ star power win out in the end? It very well could. But it’s not hard to imagine a world in which the Twins have the pitching edge in this matchup, with a returning Byron Buxton potentially boosting an offense that could wear out the Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park. Minnesota did win four of six against Houston in the regular season, and they’re my pick here.
Prediction: Twins +140